Felixstowe pub fundraiser day 'way beyond' owner's expectations

Kelly Sullivan outside the Dooley pub in Felixstowe Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

Kelly Sullivan runs The Dooley pub in Felixstowe Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND - Credit: CHARLOTTE BOND

A family-run pub in Felixstowe stepped up with support after seeing the story of an Ipswich family battling their mum's cancer diagnosis. 

Kelly Sullivan, owner of the Dooley Inn, heard of the difficult times being faced by the Callaghan family and "just wanted to do something to help". 

Mum-of-five Simone Callaghan, 30, was diagnosed with bowel cancer that had spread to her liver and kidneys. 

Her husband, Craig, was fundraising in the hope that they could take a family trip in order to make memories. 

Speaking about her decision to offer support, Mrs Sullivan said: "I don't know the family personally but I think it touched a lot of people because it was such a sad story. 

"I've been wanting to do a charity event for a while but it was all about finding the right time. With Covid restrictions and everything, it made it so hard to do anything, especially inviting a crowd. 

"So it was finding the right time and the right family and this was a family I could help."

Kelly Sullivan Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

Kelly saw Simone Callaghan's story and wanted to help the family in any way she could Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND - Credit: CHARLOTTE BOND

Most Read

She spoke to the Callaghans and together they planned a fundraising day at the pub. 

"We arranged a day that fitted around Simone's hospital appointments and contacted local businesses to organise a raffle. 

"So many people helped - hairdressers, beauty salons, restaurants and cafes - and gave raffle prizes so that was really nice." 

In total, the fundraising day raised £1,680 - far more than Kelly's aim of £1,000. 

This allowed her to split the additional money, with £500 going to St Elizabeth Hospice, £100 going to Ipswich special care baby unit and £80 beginning the pub's collection for support for Ukraine. 

"£1,000 is a lot of money and I was really happy we raised so much. It was way beyond my expectations.  

"We're living in a tough world; people are worrying about the future and the rising cost of bills and so it's lovely to know there's people out there wanting to help. 

"My next charity mission is to do a drop-off point and donation pot on the bar for aid for Ukraine, I decided that this morning. 

"I'm just someone that wants to help people if I can. And because I've got the base to be able to do that, with the pub, I can get the word out there. 

"There's so many people out there who are less fortunate and it makes me feel lucky to have what I've got - and like I should do what I can where I can and give my time to people."

Simone Callaghan at hospital for treatment for her cancer

Simone Callaghan was diagnosed with stage four bowel cancer when she was 29 - Credit: Craig Callaghan

Simone Callaghan said: "To have so much support has been so overwhelming and I'm so grateful for everything - people who donated for the Dooley day and people who have donated directly to us. 

"This money will give us a great time away and more memories to make."